Christian Devotions

Posts tagged ‘Example’

Housekeeping

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.

He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.

He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning.

Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.

He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.

He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.

But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes. ~~  I John 1:8-2:11 (KJV)

News flash!! We are not perfect and sinless. Even those who walk very closely with God still sin. The only perfect person who ever walked the earth was Jesus. The rest of us are poor followers of His example.

But God has fixed that. He has given us a way to take care of sin. If we confess it, He forgives it.

John juxtaposes darkness and light with sin and forgiveness. This is not accidental. We see our sins only in the light of His perfection. We recognize our sin when we see it as disobedience to His will. We repent of our sin when we agree with God that it is wrong.

My house was built in 1911, more than a hundred years ago. It has twelve rooms on two floors and a full basement. When I think about cleaning the whole house, I cringe. It would take a crew of ten working a month or more to get it all done at once. But if I look at one room at a time, it is a different matter. One room is not overwhelming. The whole house is.

God is gracious with us about cleaning up our lives. He doesn’t floodlight all our faults and sins at once. He takes a flashlight to one corner at a time. We confess our sins, one by one, if we are serious about dealing with them. And He forgives each of them, one by one, as we recognize and confess each one.

There’s another thing about a clean house. It generally doesn’t stay that way. People track dirt, mud, leaves and such in on their feet. We forget to put something back where we got it, or we just lay it down anywhere, thinking to put it away later. Dust filters in through the windows and doors. And soon the house is a mess again.

The world, the flesh and the devil are working hard to keep us from holiness. The world leaves its tracks on our lives. Our flesh grows weary and careless. The devil filters in to take advantage of the slightest opening. And we need to confess, yet again.

There is bad news and good news. The bad news is that this dealing with sin will be a constant in our lives til we get to go home. The good news is that He is faithful and just to forgive us when we confess. It is His fidelity, not ours, that saves us.

Father, God,

Grant us the light to see the smallest of sins before it grows into a large one. Help us to be watchful for the infiltrations of the enemy, no matter how rational his arguments may sound. Strengthen us for the daily battle against sin.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

First published on Garment of Praise December 26, 2009

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Grace and Truth

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.  ~~ John 1:14

Jesus came! He became man. He came to redeem us. He set aside the fullness of His deity and constrained it in humanity, just like our humanity. He understands our human limitations and makes allowances for them. That is grace.

He is God. God with us. He is the standard of Truth, all truth. When we are confused or perplexed, He will lead us to The Truth. With that truth, we can grow towards His perfection. Towards the plans He has for us.

Grace and Truth, the doorposts of a life with God.

Father, God,

Thank You for Your generosity in sending Jesus as a man to be our redeemer, our example. Thank You for loving us. Thank You for sharing Your Truth with us. Fill us with Your grace that we may extend that same grace to all we meet in order to help them understand Your Truth.

In Jesus’ most precious name,

Amen.

Set Apart

Focus verses: I Peter 2:1-12

In every group of people there is someone who always swings to the ultimate arc of the pendulum. Peter was that person among the disciples. He was the one who answered Jesus’ question “who do you say that I am” correctly. And Jesus called in blessed in that revelation. But just a few verses later, when Jesus tells the disciples of his coming death, Peter is the one who says “never, Lord.” And Jesus says “get behind me, Satan.”

Again when Jesus washes the disciples feet, Peter first says no, then not only my feet but my face and hands as well.

It is strange that such a volatile personality, from one extreme to the other, should become a patriarch of steady resolution, recommending self-control the the scattered churches. Peter has grown wiser and more stable.

We are indeed a peculiar people, we Christians.

We have a different hope from the rest of the world. We have the hope of heaven and God’s glory. Our lives are to be testament to that glory. We are to be the examples to the pagan. Ouch!

When we look at our lives, do we see the shining example that Peter describes here? Or are we sort of tarnished mirrors, reflecting God only dimly?

Let us examine our lives in light of His Advent.

Father, God,

Help us to see what You would have us do and be obedient to that vision. Grant that we may polish our dim mirrors so that You are reflected more clearly in our lives.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

The Importance of Character

Focus verses: Genesis 22:1-14

The story of Abraham and Isaac and the journey of sacrifice seems strange in our ears today. We do not indulge in human sacrifice and burnt offering as it was done then. The ultimate test of Abraham’s faith in God, this story begs several questions.

First, God’s directive is in direct opposition to God’s promise. If Isaac dies, how will he father the nation promised to Abraham?

Second, exactly how far does one go in blind obedience? Abraham had no way to know how this trip would end. What made him go to these lengths?

Third, what is Isaac doing all this time? He’s following his father, and he submits to being bound and laid on the pyre. What could he have been thinking?

We learn that no matter how contradictory God’s directives seem to be, He has the plan in charge and will bring it to fruition. His knowledge is infinite. Ours is not.

And obedience isn’t blind when we know the character of the person issuing orders. We need to study the person and character of God to be able to follow through in His strength.

From Isaac we learn that children are led by example, not by lecture or force. Isaac is as unquestioning of his father as Abraham is of God. And when he asks about the lamb for the sacrifice, he is satisfied that God will provide. He doesn’t need to know how or when.

Father, God,

Helps us to trust you when human reason would question. Draw us closer to You and help us to understand that whatever is needed, You will provide.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.